Source: US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission affirmed their votes to approve changes to the emergency preparedness regulations that would enhance emergency preparedness requirements for existing nuclear power plants, for those that might be licensed and built in the future, and for research and test reactors.
Among the changes in the rule are limitations on the duties of a plant’s onsite emergency responders to ensure they are not overburdened during an emergency event and requirements to incorporate hostile-action-based scenarios in the drills and exercise programs. New requirements for back-up measures for alerting and notification systems are also included in the proposed rule.
In addition, the new rule requires nuclear power plants to update their evacuation time estimates after every U.S. Census or when changes in population would increase the estimate by either 25 percent or 30 minutes, whichever is less.
“Although there are likely to be lessons learned from Japan that will apply to emergency preparedness, I do not think that we need to wait to implement the many enhancements that this rule will provide,” said Chairman Gregory Jaczko. “This rule represents good work on the part of NRC staff members, who have spent several years working on the rule in coordination with other federal agencies and various stakeholders.”
NRC staff members, working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, had gathered public comments through multiple meetings held throughout the country in 2009 and 2010 and through a lengthy public comment period. The proposed rule was first put before the Commission in 2006.
The rule will be published in the Federal Register and become effective in 30 days.
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